(File photo)

(File photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo to increase fees for disposal of mattresses

Current rate of $15 per unit not enough to cover recycling

If you plan to get rid of your old mattress at the Regional District of Nanaimo landfill and Church Road transfer station, be prepared to pay more.

The RDN is amending its tipping fee and solid waste disposal regulation bylaw, which will see an increase to the flat rate on mattress disposal to $20 from $15. A report was presented at the Solid Waste Management Select Committee meeting on May 5 for introduction and third reading. The committee endorsed the amendment to the bylaw and also to the tipping fee for recommendation for approval to the RDN board.

According to staff, both the RDN landfill and Church Road facility collect an average of 8,000 matresses and box springs annually. The RDN redirects 36 per cent to INEO Employment Services in Port Alberni, which recycles them. The number is going up, which led staff to introduce an amendment to the surcharge in order to offset the cost to divert the mattresses for recycling.

The superintendent of scale and transfer services, Ben Routledge, indicated INEO can only take 3,600 units and that there are no other local recycling company that can absorb the remaining mattresses. The RDN did engage in talks with recyclers on the mainland but the cost to ship the mattresses there would have been prohibitive.

“In order to get that 100 per cent diversion rate, we would have to increase the tipping rates threefold at least just to break even on it,” said Routledge.

The RDN, Routledge added, is looking at working with other regional districts on Vancouver Island to try and do a bulk service.

Lantzville director Mark Swain raised concerns the surcharge increase might lead people to illegally dump mattresses in the bush and other locations. x

Routledge said they did factor illegal dumping of mattresses. They looked at what the impact of increased rates has had at other jurisdictions on the Island.

“It hasn’t increase any sort of illegal dumping seen in those areas,” said Routledge.

The proposed tipping bylaw amendment also includes an increase in the rate for disposing low-density waste such as Styrofoam, which staff indicated occupies an excessive amount of airspace as well as requires more time and labour to process at the landfill.

The proposed amendment would apply a volume rate equal to $100 per cubic meter of material which would address cost recovery for both managing the waste and in relation to the landfill airspace consumed.

Also included in the proposed tipping fee bylaw amendment is the rate for disposal of invasive plant species, which are not applied to the RDN’s composting program. Instead of upping the current fee of $260 per tonne, staff recommended the amount to be lowered to $55 per tonne. Staff pointed out that the current rate discourages appropriate disposal of invasive plants and prevent further spread.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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